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16.04.2008 Regional News

'Let Curfew Remain'

By A.A. Mbord, Bawku - newtimesonline.com

ABDULAI ABANGA Bawku Municipal Chief Executive, (MCE), has appealed to the government to maintain the military presence in the area until this year’s elections are over.

He said although he was satisfied with the level of peace in the area so far, he was afraid that violence could break out during the general elections.

In an exclusive interview with the Times on Monday, Mr. Abanga cited the outbreak of violence in the 2000 and 2004 elections in the area during which guns were fired.

Mr Abanga, expressed unhappiness about the large number of sophisticated arms and ammunition in the area which could be used during the slightest misunderstanding.

He, however, commended residents of the area for maintaining the peace since the declaration of ceasefire over one month ago.

Mr Abanga urged the government to expedite action on the construction of the proposed military barracks at Bazua near Bawku.

That, he said, would reduce the heavy expenditure on the security personnel on operational duties in the conflict zone.

The MCE pointed out that since the conflict erupted in January this year, the assembly had not been able to effectively collect its internally generated revenue.

Consequently, he appealed to the governments, embassies and non governmental organisations to come to the aid of the assembly financially and through donation of materials.

He said the meager revenue that the assembly collects is used to maintain the security personnel.

On challenges facing the municipality, the MCE said some criminals had taken undue advantage of the ethnic crisis to perpetuate their nocturnal activities.

Most people have asked the residents to put the past behind them in order to restore trust and confidence in one another in order to concretise the peace.

Mr Abanga said that the assembly has decided to organise two weeks intensive remedial classes for 2,192 pupils from 40 Junior High Schools in the area who were caught up in the conflict and could not attend classes.

He said with support from Action Aid Ghana, the assembly was spending GH¢20,000 towards the organisation of mock examinations and the remedial classes to enhance their chances of making good grades during the upcoming BECE examinations.

He expressed the hope that the exercise would mitigate the absence of the pupils from school through no fault of theirs and called for the co-operation of all.

The chief executive disclosed that the assembly was also negotiating with workers of the Bawku Presbyterian Hospital to return to work as their security would be guaranteed both at work and in their homes.

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